Friday, November 30, 2007

TWW

In the world of infertility/trying to conceive, women online refer to the two week wait between ovulation/egg retrieval/embryo transfer and a pregnancy test as the tww. TWW is a source of major stress. You've done everything you can possibly do, and now you just have to wait and see. There's nothing else you can do to make a pregnancy happen for you.

I'm approaching the end of my tww, but it's been tough. I told Billy last night that I wasn't feeling good about it. I just don't feel any different, and I think I should feel a little something, at least, if there is a person or persons growing inside of me. If you ask women who have been pregnant and/or look at websites about pregnancy, you'll see that some women claim to know instantly that they are pregnant, while others feel no symptoms at all and continue on with their normal lives until they realize they've missed a period. So, how's it going to be for me?

Every little thing that happens I think jeopardizes my precious embryos. Sometimes, Winnie will pull hard on her leash, and I'll jog a bit to catch up. I have to stop myself, and I think, "Crap, did I just dislodge an embryo?" Today, I was on the couch, and Winnie jumped up on me right in the belly. I didn't have time to block her, and I keep thinking that she smooshed my embryos, and that I'm going to start bleeding any minute uncontrollably. I know it's all irrational and crazy, but I can't stop thinking about it.

I also think about every little thing I feel. I'll have a cramp here or there, and I'll think, is that good or bad? I haven't been sleeping well at night, which is very unlike me. I fall asleep fine (usually super early), but then I wake up several times during the night, and I don't know why. Sometimes I remember having a weird dream that wakes me. What's that all about? I'm insanely hungry all the time, but I think that's from the hormones I'm on.

The nurse told me after embryo transfer that I may experience some bleeding 2-3 days after. She said it could be a good sign-implantation bleeding. This happens in some women when the embryo attaches to the uterine lining. However, in others, it never happens. I kept checking my underwear all day Monday and Tuesday, but there was no blood. Then I worry that perhaps my embryos didn't implant.

I wake up every morning hoping it will be the day that I puke my guts out. I actually want to vomit. What's wrong with me? I need the tww to just end. I'm counting down the days until Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks to my cheerleaders!

I want to make sure I devote an entry to all of you who have been supporting me throughout this process. It's amazing to me how many of you are reading my blog and sending me prayers and positive fertility vibes! I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and caring.

I have had 3 friends already call and offer to host the book club that I'm supposed to host next week. I have a friend bringing me dinner tonight. I've had countless calls and e-mails from folks wishing me well and telling me I'm on their prayer lists. I'm so overwhelmed by your love and generosity. Thank you!

I often will hear about or talk to women who go through fertility treatments in complete isolation. They will say that they don't want to share what they are experiencing because they feel guilty that they can't get pregnant...that somehow they are lesser women because their bodies are not doing what they are made to do.

I think it's time to take infertility out of the shadows. Women should not feel ashamed that they can't have a baby the "old fashioned way." It's not their fault, and they shouldn't behave like it is. I have talked about my struggles since the beginning because I don't want people to think they have to walk on eggshells around me when discussing pregnancy and babies.

I've also heard of infertile women saying that they can't even go to children's birthday parties, baptisms, etc. because it reminds them of what they can't have. These women are making things more difficult on themselves. I know that it hurts every time someone else gets pregnant or has a baby or has an event to celebrate a child, but the more you pull away, the more isolated you become. That doesn't do you any good in the long haul.

Every once in a while, I've heard stories of infertile women who do not have supportive husbands. This must be the hardest situation of all. I can't imagine going through this process if Billy wasn't committed 100%. He has had to experience many small humiliations (as I chronicled in the previous post), put up with my mood swings, and be strong whenever I fall apart and begin to think I can't handle another shot, more hormones, another round of treatments, etc. He is my #1 supporter, and I couldn't be more thankful for him and his love. Sometimes I watch him with our nieces and nephews and think about what a wonderful father he is going to be and how much I want that happen for us.

Well, that's enough of the sappiness for now. I want all of you folks who are sending us fertile thoughts to know that I am keeping a list, and you may find yourself getting a call to babysit the Zeigler triplets in a few months!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Awkward Moments

Since I don't really have an update to give, I figured I would reflect on some awkward moments that Billy had to face as we moved along our infertility journey:

Awkward moment #1: The first time you walk into the "guy" area of the infertility clinic. This is where men leave their "deposits" for analysis. It's so uncomfortable in there. You know what the men sitting around are there for. They are going to slip off to back room to peruse porn and do dirty things. Making eye contact with anyone in there makes you feel filthy.

If you live less than 30 minutes from the clinic, you can bring your "sample" with you in a specimen cup. That way, you can use your own porn. They give you a small, black bag to transport the cup. If you see anyone walking in with that bag, you know what they are bringing along with them.

When a sample is dropped off, the front desk person doesn't even touch it. She makes you take the cup out and put it in a little plastic basket. She picks up the basket but never directly touches the specimen cup. That must be a thrilling job: Semen Basket Carrier.

Awkward moment #2: During my second cycle of ivf, I was going to donate some of my eggs to my sister, Alice and her husband, Kibby. This was before I knew that my eggies were full of chromosomal issues. Well, the morning that I had my egg retrieval, the "man milk" from all parties involved had to be on hand to fertilize eggs. That morning, Billy and I showed up for the surgery, and he had his little black bag, and Kibby (my brother-in-law) was walking in with his bag. We all knew what was in there, but we just had to make small talk. It's not like you can say, "Hey, how about that sperm in your bag. Good stuff, huh?"

Awkward moment #3: Collecting a "sample" and having to deliver it to doctor's office by 6:30 a.m. With this last cycle, Liane's egg retrieval was scheduled for 8 a.m., but the sperm must arrive 1 1/2 hours before that because it has to be "washed." It makes it sound so dirty, but the washing procedure is just a way that that they weed out the bad swimmers and make sure that only the Olympians are in there and ready to compete! Anyway, Billy had to do an early morning wake up call, if you know what I'm saying, and get that to the lab. Then, he ran into my dad and Liane in the waiting room. That must have been awesome.

I guess Billy needs to have a few of these moments to equalize some of what I've been going through.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Getting poked in weird places


For those of you who read the title of this entry and thought dirty thing, shame on you! The poking to which I am referring is my awful progesterone shots. It's bad enough that Jason had to see my butt and give me two shots, but now, we have to do them wherever we are around 7 p.m., which is usually not home.

On Thanksgiving, we were at dinner at the Eklund's house (Zeigler family friends), and we had to excuse ourselves to go upstairs so that Billy could administer my shot. Worse than that, we were on our way to meet some friends at Taco Mac in Roswell last night, and we had to stop along the way, pull in behind a strip shopping center, and do my shot in the car. Billy said that if a cop came by, he would say, "Officer, I'm just poking my wife in the butt." I said I would then add, "That's how we get pregnant."

Tonight, I have to figure something else out because Billy just left for the Georgia/Georgia Tech game, and he won't be home in time. I may have to ask Kibby to do it. Then, 2 out of 3 of my brothers-in-law will have seen my butt.

Well, I think it's time for the news you all want to hear-embryo transfer! Okay, I got a call yesterday afternoon that we were scheduled for an 11 a.m. transfer. The nurse was not my regular nurse, and she didn't know what the heck was going on. She didn't know I was having PGD, she was confused about the day of transfer, etc. It's the usual b.s. from this process. Fortunately, I keep careful track of everything, and I was basically telling her what was up.

One hour before embryo transfer, you have to drink 32-40 ounces of water. Then, you arrive there 15 minutes before your appointment to get the report from the embryologist about your embryos. If there is bad news, however, they usually call you when you are on your way to the transfer to let you know not to even waste your time showing up. Alice called me about 10 minutes before we were leaving, and scared the shit out of me. I heard my phone ring, and my heart skipped a beat. I went to look at the phone and saw it was her, and the first words out of my mouth were, "Bitch, you know not to call me before this appointment and get me all worked up." She said, "Well, I'm just on pins and needles. Have you heard anything?" She was as nervous as me about it.

Back to the transfer itself...your bladder must be full because they insert the embryos through a catheter into your uterus using ultrasound as a guide, and they need to be able to see the contrast of your bladder. Ladies, imagine that you have to pee really badly while you are getting a pap smear, but the pap smear last 15 minutes, instead of a few seconds. Then, you have to stay on the table for 10-15 minutes after that. Not exactly pleasant.

Anyway, we found out that out of the 16 embryos, only 4 were genetically normal. The embryologist had 2 ready to go in, and we asked him to get a third one ready. He was totally cool with it, and they popped those embryos right in. I'll try to attach a picture of the three little ones to this post. The one that looks like 2 has already hatched, which they said is a good sign. The other two are just a step behind...those take after Liane - lazy. I guess Billy could be to blame also. Now, I just have to wait until December 4th to know if they take.

Because only 1/4 of the embryos had no genetic defects, this leads us to believe that there is some sort of genetic component to this infertility with me and my sisters. Liane plans to have a follow-up consult with the doctor next month to get more information. She would like to have more kids, and when I told her about the results, she turned to Jason and said, "We have to get pregnant next month!" The world needs more Coopers and Carleys!;)

As for now, I just keep up my estrace, progesterone, baby aspirin, and prenatal vitamins. I can't exercise, have caffeine, smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or douche (who douches anyway?). That's about it.

Thank you all for your calls, thoughts, prayers, excitement, etc. I'll keep you up to date, but there won't be too much to tell until the big test!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm a junkie

I met Kristi this morning for a run, and I felt terrible from the get-go. The pain in my butt is terrible when I run from the 3 progesterone injections I've had so far. I figured I could deal with that, but then I got so tired after about a mile that I had to stop and walk. Keep in mind that last Saturday, I ran 8 miles with no problem. I started wondering what the heck was different, and I realized I've had some changes in my medications. Here is what I am currently taking:

1 baby aspirin daily
2 estrace (2 mg) daily orally plus 2 estrace (2 mg) daily vaginally (Just to recap some side effects: booby swelling-which isn't so bad. Billy told me yesterday that my boobs looked bigger. My prayers are being answered late in life. On the flip side, they hurt a lot. It's such a cruel joke. In addition, weight gain and bloating are side effects, and I'm feeling those, big time. I'm afraid to step on a scale, but my pants dig into my waist everyday so I know it won't be pretty to see the number on the scale. I need some stretchy clothes, but I'm too proud. I'll break down if I get pregnant but until then, damn it, I'll wear my normal clothes and be incredibly uncomfortable.)
1 prenatal vitamin daily
.05 cc Lupron daily (Injection in my belly. The last one will be Friday morning. I just have to keep suppressing my own ovaries until then.)
1 Medrol daily (This is a type of steroid. It's often used when people get bone marrow transplants for their bodies not to reject the marrow. The idea is for my body not to reject the embryos that will be put in on Saturday. The side effects are increased appetite, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and muscle weakness.)
2 Doxycycline daily (This is an antibiotic to make sure I don't get an infection when the embryos are transferred in and to ensure that I get rid of any infections that I might not even know I have. Some of the side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections.)
1 cc Progesterone daily (This is the butt injection. During the second phase of your menstrual cycle, your ovaries make progesterone, and they continue to do so if you get pregnant through the first 8 weeks of a pregnancy. However, my ovaries have been suppressed with Lupron and therefore, they are a bit confused as to how to proceed. They are being told to not do anything because I don't want the eggs, but then they think no eggs=no pregnancy. However, for this cycle we want no eggs = pregnancy. Therefore, we have to trick my body by replacing the hormones normally produced by my ovaries-estrogen and progesterone. Without enough progesterone, embryo(s) may not survive. After the 8th week the placenta becomes a major source of progesterone and the ovarian hormones are no longer needed. However, with ivf, the standard protocol is to continue progesterone supplementation through the first trimester, just to be safe. If I get pregnant, my butt is going to be so sore after 3 1/2 months worth of shots. Besides a pain in the hiney, the other side effects include headaches, breast tenderness, diarrhea, vaginal discharge, and problems with urination.)

When I was at Liane's house yesterday, I pulled out my enormous bag of medicine in the morning to take everything with my breakfast. My dad saw me getting it out, and he asked what all that was. I told him they were all the medicines I had to take everyday. He said, "You are like a junkie with all that stuff." Yeah, I guess I'm a hormone junkie. I sure wish all this stuff got me high, instead of sore boobies, pains in my butt, confused ovaries, and fat. Oh well.

We're off to take Winnie for a walk. I'm update you all tomorrow on things. I need to explain the embryo transfer process next time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Egg retrieval and more tales from dirty headquarters (Liane's house)

I left Sunday afternoon for Jacksonville with Jason, Cooper, and Carley. When we arrived at their house, there was dirty laundry piled up as high as the kitchen table on the floor, old dishes in the sink, cat barf everywhere, and the place smelled like a litter box. Good times. Anyway, I couldn't deal with any of that after a long day on the road. By the time we arrived, we had to start putting the kids to bed. I made a mental note, however, that the next day would be devoted to a cleaning frenzy!

Monday morning was insane. Cooper has school from 8:30-11:30, which is not nearly long enough, but I was willing to take the break from him temporarily. The kids got up around 7:15, and the craziness started immediately. Well, Carley's little bad habits had already sparked up in the middle of the night. She started crying at around midnight, and I had to go take her out of her crib and bring her to bed with me. That's what Liane does every night. Then, Carley puts herself to sleep and comforts herself by tugging at Liane's hair all night, and since I was the one there Sunday night, she got to yank on my hair all night. Needless to say, I did not sleep very well at all. Hair pulling may comfort her, but it gives me a headache.

Anyway, at 7:15 I had to start by changing Cooper's diaper and clothes. I was still in my pajamas, and Carley is very needy in the morning so I was trying to juggle her on one hip while getting Cooper situated. Then, he came out of his room, and he wanted to watch tv for a while, which was fine because I needed time to make breakfast. I toasted some bread and waffles, got sippy cups with orange juice ready...all while still holding Carley. I really had to pee at this point so I ran into the bathroom and had to go with Carley on my lap. That was pleasant.

After that, it was right back to breakfast prep (yes, I washed my hands). I got Cooper and Carley in their high chairs, and they ate some breakfast. Then, Cooper wanted to get out of his chair. He takes a dump every morning after breakfast. He runs into his playroom and shuts the door. He needs privacy for pooping. At one point, I went in to check on him, and he was squatting in the corner, and he waved me off saying, "No, Wasie, go way." He calls me Wasie now. I guess Leslie is too hard to say.

He finally emerged from the room around 7:50, and I had to get him changed again and ready for school. I took advantage of his poop time to change Carley out of her pajamas. I fought with him for several minutes about putting on his shoes and going to school. He didn't want to go, but I used scare tactics, and they worked.

I dropped him off at about 8:25. Good timing. He asked the lady who opened the door in the carpool line, "Have you seen Miss Mandy around?" That's his teacher. It was so cute the way he asked. He hadn't been there in 2 weeks so I was worried about how the day was going to go, but I was hoping for the best, but that's not how it turned out.

From school, I took Carley to Super Wal-Mart for a grocery shopping excursion. She only sat in the cart for about the first 10 minutes and then wanted to be held. It's not easy pushing a cart while holding a child, and it's nearly impossible to find what you are looking for in a store with which you are not familiar. So we got through that as quickly as possible (I only purchased the essentials) and headed home.

I unpacked the groceries and had some one-on-one playtime with Carley. I also started some loads of laundry when I got back. Then, it was time to get Cooper. Here we go again! When I pulled up in the carpool line, there was Cooper, and Miss Mandy was next to him holding his hand, signaling for me to stop to talk to her. Great. Cooper had been a very bad boy that day. As Miss Mandy put it, "it was rough." She asked if he slept okay because he had been whiny and hadn't listened to her. I said I was sorry, and I would inform his parents. I wasn't going to take the fall for those folks.

We got home, and I put in some more loads of laundry and shifted around the clean clothes to the dryer. Next came lunch time. I heated up some food for the kids, put them in their chairs, but Cooper didn't want to eat. He kept saying, "My no eat, Wasie." I had to resort to bribes at that point, and he choked down some of his food. He watched TV for a few minutes, but it was nap time so I started prepping them both for naps. I had to change diapers, read books, etc. Cooper was refusing to go to sleep, and I was rocking Carley in her room and could hear him screaming, "Wasie! Wasie! Wasie, come back!" from his room. Once I finally got Carley out, I went back in his room, read him another book, scared him a little more about what would happen if he didn't fall asleep, and he was off to dreamland...well, maybe nightmares, but I didn't care. He was asleep.

While they napped, I continued on my mad cleaning streak by doing more laundry, emptying the dishwasher and reloading it, and sweeping the floor in the kitchen. I also started some dinner prep. I chopped some onions and other ingredients. I was making a tortellini-vegetable soup for Liane and a meatloaf and mashed potatoes for my dad, Jason, and myself.

Carley woke up after about 45 minutes, which sucked. I needed more time, but oh well. I got her out of bed and brought her out to the kitchen with me. She chased around the cats for a while and shortly thereafter, Cooper was up and ready to go again. He's at 100% all the time. I decided we needed to go outside and play so we headed out there.

Jason had been replacing rotten siding on the house, and there were pieces of the old siding with nails sticking out in the driveway. Cooper stepped on one, but luckily it did not go through his shoe. Then, he ran over to an orange tree and picked off a small orange that must have tasted terrible because it was so tiny. I'm guessing it was super sour, but before I knew it, he had peeled it and was eating it. Yuck.

Carley kept trying to run out in the street so I was chasing her all over the place. Cooper got on his bike and tried to run Carley down. It was total insanity. This was around 4 p.m., and I still had not even brushed my hair. I was looking good.

My dad and Liane arrived around 4:30, which was sweet salvation. I was so glad to have some help. Mostly, I needed help folding the mountain of laundry I had cleaned all day. Liane took over kiddy duty, and my dad and I went back to working on cleaning projects.

Liane said that Kibby (Alice's husband) had asked what time her procedure was Monday, and she told him 8 a.m. He said, "So, you and Billy are going to be doin' it at 8 a.m. basically." Ha! I told her to tell Kibby that in exchange for her doing it with Billy, I was showing my butt to Jason on Sunday and Monday nights. Jason had to give me my progesterone shots those two nights. That needle is huge, but at least he's a doctor so it wasn't that big of a deal. Still, it was weird to have him shoot me up. The things I must do to make a baby.

So here's the news you've all been waiting for. They retrieved 25 eggs from Liane. Of those, 19 were mature enough to be fertilized. They separated out 6 of those to fertilize conventionally, which means they just put the egg and sperm together and let nature takes its course. Of those, 4 fertilized. Then, the took the other 13 and did ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), which basically means they take a sperm and inject it directly into the egg. Of those, 12 fertilized. Therefore, we currently have 16 embryos growing in some dish in a lab. They will have genetic testing done starting Thursday, and we will not know the results until Saturday morning, just before embryo transfer. I'm supposed to get a call Friday afternoon to have the transfer scheduled.

Liane was doing fine after the surgery. She was just a little tired and slightly crampy, but that's to be expected. Dad and I stayed Monday night to get her through the evening, and she was better in the morning. We left there around 8:30 a.m. and arrived back in Atlanta around 3 p.m.

I'm glad to be back but exhausted. I'm ready to get some rest. If it's triplets, I don't know what I'll do. I'm just not thinking about that for now.

I'll let you all know once my embryo transfer is scheduled. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading this super long entry.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ew, I touched it!

Friday night, Billy and I took Cooper and Carley to Mellow Mushroom for dinner. I had my bottle of estrace in my purse, and it fell out in Liane's car. I called her Saturday morning and asked her to see if she could find it. She of course, ordered Jason to search it out in her filthy car. He brought the bottle back in, and Liane said to him, "Thanks. That's the medicine Leslie puts in her cooter." Jason responded, "EW, I touched it!" Then, when I went by Alice's to pick up the bottle later, Alice said she left the bottle on the counter for me. Liane said again, "That's the medicine Leslie puts in her cooter," and at that point, Alice said, "EW, I touched it!"

Here's the deal people: number one, that is the one I take orally, not vaginally, so it does not go in my cooter, as Liane so eloquently put it and number two, I don't put a pill bottle in there. It's a single pill that I get out of the bottle. What's wrong with these people?

Looks like we have a schedule for things now, but life is about to get hectic for a couple of days. Liane's egg retrieval will take place on Monday morning at 8 a.m. Jason has to go back to Jacksonville today, and they would like for Cooper to go back to school this week since he's missed 2 weeks. Therefore, I will ride back with Jason today and spend the night in Jax. I will take Cooper to school tomorrow and take care of Carley. My dad will take Liane to her egg retrieval on Monday morning and then drive her back to Jax in the afternoon. At that point, we will either turn around and come right back on Monday evening or we will spend Monday night there and head back Tuesday morning. Of course, things have to be crazy for us.

As for my meds, I have some slight changes, but the most important change is that it's time to start my progesterone shots. These are intramuscular, which means that they have to be injected in my butt. Unfortunately, Jason is going to have to do these for me tonight and tomorrow. I'm so ashamed he has to see my butt. I guess it could be worse...after all, he is a doctor.

We had this whole issue with my PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosing) that came up. I wanted PGD done on all the embryos to make sure that we replace only good ones. The genetic tests let us know if they are dividing normally, have a good genetic makeup, etc. Our doctor had agreed to do this and pay for it before we began the cycle. Then, she tried to tell us it was unnecessary, since Liane already has 2 children. I call b.s. on that. I want it done. It's the only way we'll get some answers. If we put back embryos and they don't take, I won't know if it's because of the embryos themselves or because of something wrong with me, if we don't do PGD. My nurse called to say they would have embryo transfer on Day 3 following fertilization, which would be Thanksgiving. I know that PGD takes 5 days, so I asked her about it. She said they weren't doing PGD, and I said, "Oh yes you are." I told her that it was in the contract I signed with the doctor, and I was unwilling to proceed without it. She said that was fine, and she would make the changes to my protocol.

The nurse also told me that Billy needed to be there at 6:30 a.m. Monday to give his "sample." However, she had told me earlier this month that they had his sample frozen in the lab, and he wouldn't need to make a "contribution" the day of egg retrieval. I asked her about that, and she was like, "Oh yeah, I forgot." What's wrong with these people? Do I have to remember everything?

These things bring me to this whole issue of having to be your own advocate in the health care system. You have to be incredibly well-informed to deal with all of this stuff. I feel sorry for people who just always take their doctor's advice and don't understand enough to know when to fight for certain things. I have learned so much through this process.

I probably won't have a chance to update the blog until I return. I'll just leave you all wanting more....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Exchanging Eggs for Babysitting

I got behind yesterday and didn't post. Sorry folks...didn't mean to let down my loyal readers. I'll try to get you up to speed today with everything. There just wasn't much to tell yesterday because nothing had really changed. Liane had 20 follicles, but they were not growing very quickly so they are still projecting a Monday egg retrieval. Not too exciting. Liane told the nurse she felt like her ovaries were letting her down. She wanted them to grow the follicles quickly so that she could leave town with Jason on Sunday. It looks like that is now an unreasonable timeline. This whole process has taught me so much about patience and letting go of control.

I guess I've gotten behind because the last couple of days have been action-packed with babysitting responsibilities. I have been watching Cooper and Carley in the mornings when Liane goes to the doctor the last 3 mornings. She also takes advantage of the babysitting time to visit preschools that they may attend next fall once they move to ATL.

On Wednesday night, I was setting my alarm for Thursday, and Billy asked why I was getting up early when I wasn't going into the office. I told him I was babysitting. He was like, "Again? You babysit all the time for Liane." My response was, "Well, she is giving us eggs. I think it's only fair to take care of her monsters in exchange." He thought I had a pretty good point with that one.

My dad and I have taken Cooper and Carley to McDonald's the last two mornings to let them play on the indoor playground there, since we have had a chilly couple of mornings. Cooper calls it "Old McDonald's." Today, both Cooper and Carley unleashed some serious poopy diapers while we were there. Cooper was first, and I let my dad change him, and just when I thought I was safe, Carley started stinking up the place, and I had to take my turn doing the walk of shame to the corner with a kid that had a loaded diaper. Luckily, there weren't many people around so I just changed her in the corner on a bench by the play set. Nobody was close by to have their appetites thoroughly ruined.

I have to watch the kids again tonight when Liane and Jason go out to dinner. Billy is going to help me out this time. I may run a little late getting there so I asked Billy if he could get there before me and cover the first 30 minutes on his own. He said he would not change any crap-filled diapers. Even though he can probably go 30 minutes without doing it this time, eventually, he's going to have to figure it out. That should be very interesting.

Okay, I'll get another couple of entries in over the weekend once we have further updates.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I have a lovely uterus

I think it's funny when the doctors and nurses use words like "lovely" to describe my uterus. Can it really be lovely? On the little black and white ultrasound picture they showed me of my uterus, I would never use the word "lovely" to describe it. However, if they think it's lovely, who am I to criticize? Maybe they've seen some really ugly uteruses in their time, and in comparison, mine is just beautiful. If only a pretty uterus meant you would be able to have a baby...

At my visit this morning, they checked out my lovely uterus, using the not-so-lovely vaginal prod. They like for an egg recipient's uterine/endometrial lining to measure around 7 (is that cm?-I don't know for sure) at this point of the cycle. Mine was at 10.8. Looking good so far. I guess all of my estrogen is paying off. It's making my butt and my uterus fat.

Liane was there also, and she had 19 follicles today. The "lead follicles," which are the biggest ones, were measuring around 1.5 cm today. The nurse thinks she'll be on track for a Monday retrieval, but the doctor said she would guess Sunday. Liane is hoping for Sunday. The doctor believes that based on the current follicle count, we should have about 10-12 mature eggs at retrieval. That's a good number. Bring on the Zeigler triplets! Just kidding, Billy, if you are reading this...(but not really).

Update on Winnie's carb loading: After posting my blog last night, I discovered several bagels in strategic locations around our home. There was one tucked under a sofa pillow, another lodged between the cushion and the arm chair of our loveseat, and another tucked safely away in our bed. Apparently, Winnie was saving some of her carbs for today, but I ruined her plans. She has been a crapping maniac all day. I hope this stuff all works its way out of her system. I'm just glad it's not the 'rhea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Does this estrogen make my butt look big?

Yesterday, after increasing my dose of estrogen by another 2 mg per day, which brings me up to a total of 6 mg orally and 4 mg vaginally if you are keeping track, I was feeling it. I went over to Alice's to take some dinner to Liane, and ended up helping her with Cooper and Carley's dinners and bath times. I couldn't even button up my pants by the end of the evening, and I had on my "fat jeans." This is becoming very problematic. My work pants are creeping very far into my butt crack, which leads to believe that my butt is also expanding. Why does it always have to be my ass? Couldn't I gain some weight in my chest, just for once? It's not fair!

Liane also said she was feeling a bit more fullness in her ovaries last night and today. This morning, she was up to 14 follicles. The are all still in the 1.3 cm range, but she keeps making more. The nurse said that egg retrieval may not happen until Monday because they need more time for the smaller ones to mature. This would totally suck because Jason is coming to town on Friday, and he's planning on driving back with her Sunday because the original projected retrieval date was Saturday. If she has to stay an extra day, I'm going to have to foot the bill for her and kids to fly back to Jacksonville the week of Thanksgiving. That is not going to be pretty.

I babysat Cooper and Carley today for a while. Carley was chasing Cooper outside and wiped out. She had a huge knot on her forehead when Liane got home. I'm going to be a terrible mom. Shit. If I can't keep up with two of them, will I be able to deal with three?

I can't even deal with my freakin' dog! When I got home today, she had eaten an entire loaf of wheat bread, including the bag, about 10 mini bagels, and 2 bananas. She is an eating machine. Let's add that to the tub of croissants she ate earlier this week, along with a bag of flat bread, and 2 large apple turnovers. She sure likes to carb load. Too bad she's not training for a marathon. All of my groceries are now becoming Winnie's dog crap.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Double the follicles, double the fun

I just got an update from Liane. She has 10 follicles today. That's great news. She's doubled the number she had since yesterday.

I was a little worried yesterday when she only had 5 because I looked back at my records of my office visits when I was being stimulated, and I usually had 10-12 follicles at the first ultrasound. However, this was good and bad. I ended up hyperstimulated most of the time, which was miserable, and all of my eggs turned out to be genetically-impaired. I've decided this is the politically correct way to say they were effed up.

My doctor has told me that we are looking for quality, not quantity from Liane. However, I can't help but think that the more we have, the better the chance that we'll have several good ones. I have to stop stressing so much.

I received instructions from the nurse a few minutes ago. I have to increase my oral estrace to 3 times per day, instead of 2 times per day. They do this once the donor's eggs get bigger than 1.2 cm. Liane's were around 1.3 today. More estrogen...just what my body needs. I would say wish me good luck, but it's really Billy who needs it. He's dealing with a hormonal nutcase...maybe that's why he's always off at "softball games" or "business dinners."

That reminds me of the time the last cycle we did where I got so emotional from all of the hormones. I was a wreck. Those of you who know me well know that I'm not easy to upset, and to see me cry is a rare occurrence. Well, during that cycle, Billy and I were in the car on our way somewhere, and we were probably running late, since this is standard operating procedure for Billy. Then, I get all stressed out because I am a very prompt person. Anyway, he was driving like his usual maniac self, and I was getting scared. I asked him to slow down and get over in the right lane. He snapped at me, and told me not to be such a back seat driver, and I fell apart. I started crying and said, "I don't know why you always have to be so mean to me." I knew it was the hormones, but I couldn't stop. He actually did slow down and became very concerned about me. Maybe I should try this approach more often, instead of my usual screaming approach that sounds something like this: "We are going to DIE!"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lady Business 101

Okay, it's time for a biology lesson to set the stage for the next step in this cycle. As most of you ladies know, each month an egg is usually produced by one of the ovaries. This is certainly not the case in my situation, since my cycle has been known to last up to 80 days, but if you are "normal" a few egg gets crankin' up in your ovaries every month. The eggs mature before they can be ovulated, and they are sort of racing to be the fastest one to mature because the fastest one is the one that is actually ovulated/released.

During the maturation time, each egg grows inside a fluid filled sac in your ovary called a follicle. Liane is currently taking a medication called follistim that makes her ovaries overproduce eggs, which means she currently has several follicles in her ovaries that are racing to the finish line and maturing at about the same speed. Right now, she has precisely 5 that are about the same size.

Liane's monitoring appointments are now daily to see the number of follicles and their sizes, as well as measure her estrogen levels (estradiol is the blood measure). As the eggs mature, they release estrogen, and blood estradiol gives an indication of how mature each egg is. The level is typically about 200-600 per mature follicle. She is currently in the 200 range, which means only one egg is getting even close to maturity. That is normal, since it's still early in the cycle.

The development of the follicles is monitored using vaginal ultrasounds. These are very pleasant. Billy compared the wand that they use to a curling iron without the thing that clamps around the hair. I'm glad that wand isn't wicked hot...that's about the only thing that could make it any worse. I hate the nasty, goopy feeling when they load that thing up with K-Y or whatever it is.

At each visit the ultrasound nurse documents the number of follicles and the size (diameter) of each one. A mature follicle is typically about 1.8 cm. When several follicles get close to that size, Liane will have to give herself a shot of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) to force ovulation. 36 hours after that shot, she will have her eggs retrieved.

Her 5 follicles are currently measuring around 1.0 cm, which means they are not near maturity. She will begin to administer a shot called Ganirelix when her follicles grow a little and her estrogen gets higher. This medicine will keep her body from ovulating on its own. They will let her know when it's time for that.

The nurse called me this afternoon and said that everything was going wonderfully, and I should just keep up the same medications. Liane will keep up the same dose of the follistim, as well. I was sure glad about that because if she needs more, I'll need to rob a bank. That stuff is almost $1 per cc. I bought a 600 cc vial on Friday for $490...that was the discounted rate.

That's the latest and greatest for now. Liane will be monitored again tomorrow, and I'll post a follicle update. My next appointment is on Wednesday morning to ensure that the medicine I've been using is doing its job and making my uterus a happy place for embryos to make themselves at home.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The filth never ends

I watched Cooper and Carley today all afternoon while Liane's new house was being inspected. They stay in the apartment at Alice's when they come to town. That place smells like a diaper full of poop from the moment they arrive.

When Liane got home, it was time for her to take her Follistim shot. That is the medicine that stimulates her ovaries to over-produce eggs. She said that the first couple of times she took the shot, she didn't have any alcohol, so she didn't clean the site or anything before injecting herself. She still didn't have any alcohol, which costs about 99 cents at the grocery store, and she was using hand sanitizer to just clean off the area before the shot. I'm so scared. She is the type of person who would end up with a raging infection at the injection site because of this. I think she may come down with that new staph infection, MRSA.

I told her I would see her tomorrow with a box full of alcohol swabs. How can one person be so dirty? I just don't get it. What if her eggs are dirty? I may have children that are like Pig-pen from Peanuts. They'll just have a cloud of filth that follows them around. They'll ask me, "Why am I so dirty, mommy?" and I'll have to say, "We got you from a dirty place, your Aunt Liane's ovaries."

Rejuvenation

I have returned from DC, and I know you are all anxiously awaiting my next post. Yes, the pills in the va-jay-jay have begun. It's not as bad as I thought. They don't fall right out, as I suspected they would. I had weird dreams about having to put the pill in there all night Monday, and I thought I had done it when I woke up, but then, I found the little blue pill on my nightstand and realized I had dreamt the whole process.

Yes, the pill is blue-bright blue! Every time I wipe after peeing, the tp is bright blue. Very strange.

One of the nights I was in DC, I was watching Dr. 90210, and one of the plastic surgeons was performing a vaginal rejuvenation. The woman who was getting it said she had 2 babies, and one weighed 10 lbs the other 12 lbs at birth. She said her vagina had never been the same. She was going to get a vaginal rejuvenation, and the doctor told her she would have the vagina of an 18 year old. What does that mean? Now women even have pressure to have young vaginas? Is my cha-cha that different today than it was 10 years ago? By the end of the episode, though, I was thinking, "I'm totally going to need this after I have a baby." Why in the world would I need that? How did Dr. 90210 convince me in 1/2 an hour that this was the ticket to having my youth back? I need to stop watching so much tv. It's freaking me out. I still don't even know what the hell a vaginal rejuvenation is. They use lasers and stuff, but do they remove skin, tighten muscles? All I know is that the lady who had it done was looking down there with a mirror before and after and seemed to be very pleased with the results. Her big, pervert boyfriend was also looming around, and he said it looked great. GROSS!

Okay, back to my meds. I called my nurse yesterday to get the changes to my meds since Liane started her cycle yesterday, and I was taking the wrong dose of my suppression medicine, and I was doing it at the wrong time. It would have been nice for someone to have told me that. I don't just make up the dose. Another nurse told me how much to take, and I was following directions. I was taking .2 cc's of Lupron for the past 3 weeks, but now I'm down to .05 cc's until the day before embryo transfer. In the morning, I take my Lupron shot, 2 mgs of Estrace orally plus 2 more in my who-who, a baby aspirin, and a prenatal vitamin. In the evening, it's just the estrace (upstairs and downstairs). Once we get closer to egg donation, the shots in my hiney start. I may need a butt rejuvenation after a couple of weeks of those.

By the way, Liane and Jason got the house they have been negotiating for. She said there were a couple of others in the neighborhood for sale. I told her that we would use her neighborhood amenities when I had my triplets. I would bring them over from the slums where we will end up living, since we'll be so poor from trying to have them and then trying to raise them. Maybe we'll all just stay put in the condo. Three kids, two adults, and one big dog in a 2 bedroom-oh what fun!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Time to Pay Up!

I am still in DC at a conference, but I have some time and some internet access so I figured I would give an update. Liane had to go in to the doctor this morning to make sure her own body had been thoroughly suppressed enough to have her begin being stimulated with medications. It's egg time for her.

Since she had her first appointment, I had to pay the bill. This cycle would normally cost us $16,000! If we had an anonymous donor, it would add another $6,000. However, we got a discount because my case is so freaky-deeky, and the doctors and embryologists are interested in studying me. It pays to be weird sometimes. We ended up having a $9,000 bill. Not great, but much better than the alternative.

Okay, I'm out of time. I'll write once the lady business pills start. I know you are all excited about that!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Dirty Bibs Story

I checked in with Liane last night. I mentioned before that she has vertigo, and she had a doctor's appointment yesterday to determine if she needed some additional medications and/or procedures to help her resolve the symptoms. I asked her if she had gotten the green light from her doctor to proceed with the cycle. She said, "Hell, no. I didn't even mention it." Then, she proceeded to say, "I don't need anyone holding this crap up." Those are my thoughts exactly, but I am still concerned about her health. I guess if she's thinks it will be okay, it will be.

I asked if Friday was her last day of Desogen. She didn't know what I was talking about. I clarified it was the birth control pill, and she said that yeah, she thought it was her last day, but she wasn't sure. She told me she would check her paper where she had it written down. I'm getting more and more worried about all of this. If you saw her house, you would know why. I don't know where that paper is, but it may be tucked under her pillow on her bed next to 10 dirty, crusty baby bibs. There's just no telling.

Okay, I have to tell the dirty bibs story for those of you who don't know it. Billy and I were visiting Liane and Jason one weekend, and we were on the couch watching tv one night when Liane walked out of her bedroom carrying 5 or 6 bibs that had crusty, old milk all over them. I asked where they came from, and she very calmly explained that when she the baby in the middle of the night, she would put a bib on her so that she wouldn't get milk all over her. Then, when she was done, she would tuck that bib under her pillow. She had accumulated about a week's worth of rotten bibs in her bed at the point that she decided it was time to get them out. It's little things like this that make me worry.

She called the doctor's office today to determine the next steps in her protocol. Then, she called me and asked why she was going to get her period. She was ready to start up the egg factory. I explained that they have to mimic a real cycle so she has to get her period, and then, they will give her medicines to put her body's natural egg production in overdrive. She seemed to be fine with that.

Liane will be coming to town tomorrow. She and Jason have put an offer on a house here so she's going to come and actually look at it tomorrow. That's right folks, they put in an offer sight unseen! She saw it on the internet and sent Caroline (our step-sister, who is an agent), Alice, and our dad over to see it. When they said they liked it, she decided it was time to make a move.

She will be staying 2-3 weeks, depending how long her cycle takes. I will have to be all over to ensure she sticks to the protocol. She's gotta take a lot of meds, and some have to be taken at specific times. I'm gonna be a wreck, and she'll be her usual care-free self. I wish I could have some of her attitude sometimes.

Vivian still insists I should have used her eggs. She gave me the whole list of reasons she would be an ideal candidate when I found out I needed a donor: her vegetarian diet, her active lifestyle, her OCD, her age when she had Rose (35) with no complications, etc. When I mentioned her as a potential donor, my doctor said she would be a second choice because she was too old. Vivian was highly offended and is convinced that if the doctor took out some of her eggs, she would see that they are perfection. Rose is pretty damn cute, but those eggs have been rotting another several years since Rose came along. Who knows what's brewing in her ovaries these days. Who am I to talk, though?

I started the Estrace pill today in my mouth. Don't get excited, it's not pill in the lady business time yet. I'm sure I'll have plenty to blog about when that gets crankin'. I also started the baby aspirin. The baby aspirin has been shown to increase blood flow to the uterus, allowing for a thicker and healthier uterine lining. I'm all about a good, thick lining.

By the way, I'll be out of town until Wednesday, and I'm not sure if I'll have internet access while I'm away. I'll get you all up to speed when I return from DC next week.

Thanks to those of you who have posted comments. This blog thing is fun!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ass Essentials

Well, I checked in with Liane last night to see how she was doing. She has vertigo now, which from what she tells me, is pretty sucky. Anyway, she was filling me in how she and Jason had been adding up their child-related expenses for the past year. She said that they spend $4500 on diapers, butt cream, and wipes last year. Jason refers to these items as the "ass essentials."

I then proceeded to make the mistake of telling Billy about this. He is seriously concerned about the costs associated with the whole baby thing, and the $4500 ass essentials bill didn't help him feel any better.

We've been going back and forth about how many embryos we'll transfer in, and it depends first and foremost on how many good ones we have, but the doctor seems to think we'll have plenty. Then, we will have to decide if we want 2 or 3 to go back in. The doctor recommends 2, but she will do up to 3 but no more. I'm all for 3 at this point, but Billy has been leaning towards 2. We've got some time before we make a decision so we can put that off for now.

If I got pregnant with triplets, the only ass essential Billy would need is a diaper, because he would crap his pants. No, he's more of a barfer so he would probably just throw up all over the doctor's office, like the time he threw up in the Elliott's kitchen. I hope our kid(s) aren't barfers.

I'll update you tomorrow after I hit the estrogen bottle hard.

By the way, you can post comments directly on this blog, instead of e-mailing me back. It doesn't really matter to me either way, but if you post on the site, everyone can enjoy your messages. I told Liane she should add her side of the story, and she asked me if she would get a cut of the money if I end up with a book deal. This does not bode well for her eggs. Lord help me.

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